Since its founding more than a century ago, Pine Bluff's Ralph Robinson & Son Funeral Directors has built and steadily added to a sterling reputation that has netted the firm national acclaim.

Since its founding more than a century ago, Pine Bluff’s Ralph Robinson & Son Funeral Directors has built and steadily added to a sterling reputation that has netted the firm national acclaim.

That prestige has now fully expanded to an international level with the recent election of Adam Robinson as 2013 board president of the Chicago area-based Selected Independent Funeral Homes Association.

The non-profit SIFH, which primarily serves the U.S. and Canada, is the world’s oldest and largest affiliation of independently owned funeral homes. It focuses on maintaining professional conduct within the industry and enhancing services to individuals and families.

Membership is by invitation only. Currently, SIFH counts just under 500 members.

“It’s an honor and a privilege for me to represent the Selected Independent Funeral Homes Association,” said the 62-year-old Robinson, who was first elected to its board of directors in 2010. “I believe it’s the best of the best in funeral service.”

Robinson, who will be installed as president in September and will serve until October 2013, believes he’s the first Arkansan to lead the group. He became active with the organization in the 1970s. His late father was a board member in the 1960s and his late grandfather joined the group in the 1920s.

Robinson is a third-generation president of the local funeral service, and also heads Co-Operative Life Insurance Company, a second family business.

A former president of the Arkansas Funeral Directors Association and Arkansas State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors, Robinson said he’s impressed by SIFH’s “quality of membership.”

“It’s the talent and expertise they all have,” he said. “We have a very active and capable board and a wonderful staff.”

He’s already busy as he prepares to take charge of the organization. He’ll be leading planning and program efforts and helping in the recruitment of new members while traveling “extensively” during his 13-month presidency.

“We are excited about building upon the success we have achieved both fiscally and in terms of educational programming,” Robinson said. “We have some exciting things happening this year.

“Selected Independent Funeral Homes has the finest programming in funeral service today,” he said. “I’ve never been to a meeting where I didn’t learn something new and was able to solve an issue I was facing, either directly through program content or by talking with fellow members.”